Live-In Relationships And Mental Health —The Debate And Its Implications


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Live-In Relationships And Mental Health
  • There is much debate around live-in relationships and mental health.
  • Experts contend that this link can be positive or negative, depending on the cohabiting couples’ perspectives and circumstances.

What Are Live-in Relationships?

A live-in relationship or cohabitation is a type of intimate relationship where two people choose to live together as partners without getting married. The partners are often involved in a romantic or sexually intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis.

Live-in relationships are becoming increasingly prevalent in the younger generations, particularly those living in metropoles with professional commitments.

Pros And Cons Of Live-in Relationships

Live-in relationships come with several advantages and disadvantages. Live-in relationships provide opportunities for an increased sense of partner intimacy and closeness, without the hassles of legal obligations and societal expectations.

The partners enjoy greater freedom of choice in sharing their lives and building a stronger emotional, co-dependent connection. Living together can help couples test their compatibility in lifestyles, communication, goals, and financial arrangements.

However, live-in relationships are heavily stigmatized in society. Cohabiting partners are often not able to enjoy the legal protections that come with marriage, like child support and each partner’s financial and property rights.

Even if courts all over the world have legalized live-in relationships through their jurisprudence, such bonds are still considered a taboo. Moreover, such relationships are deemed more unstable than traditional marriages. It is perceived that there may be less commitment between live-in partners, and the relationship is more likely to break down.

Live-in Relationship And Mental Health

Research is divided in its opinion when it comes to the mental health impact of live-in relationships. While the live in relationship rules and patterns avoid the pitfalls of conventional marital structures, cohabitation is not without its flaws.

Why is live-in relationship good for mental health?

Partners in live-in relationships enjoy greater scores of freedom, self-esteem, and respect. A lack of societal pressure of conforming to traditional gender roles or childbearing leads to increased relief and contentment. These factors lead to increased feelings of love, support, and security, which can be very beneficial for mental health.

In fact, studies show that couples in long-term cohabitation enjoy greater happiness, life satisfaction, and immunity—being less prone to diseases and disabilities. They also thwart the experience of poor mental well-being typical in singles and divorcees.

Why is live-in relationship bad for mental health?

The downsides of being in a live-in relationship are poor mental health issues. Live-in relationships are sometimes unstable, insecure, and short-term arrangements. In such cases, cohabitation is associated with high incidences of partner abuse, extortion, and abandonment, as well as poor mental health symptoms like:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance use, etc.

To Be Or Not To Be—in A Live-in Relationship

Despite the incessant debate, it is worth noting that there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the relationship between live-in arrangements and mental health. Some people may find that living together without getting married is beneficial for their mental health, while others may find that it is not.

Ultimately, the most important thing is for each individual to assess their own needs and preferences, and to make a decision about whether or not to pursue a live-in relationship based on their own unique circumstances.

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